In this article I will reveal to you what actually happens to your body in yoyo dieting, the warning signs, how to avoid it, and really how you can protect yourself from the rebound weight gain associated with yoyo diets.
Yo yo Diets
What are Yo yo Diets and how can you protect yourself by recognizing the yoyo diet’s cycle? You need to really understand what’s going on with your body when you get on a crash diet or a quick fix diet that doesn’t yield long term results.
What actually happens in terms of calories and how your body reacts to calorie deficits? If you’ve ever been on a diet where you have a rebound of weight gain or a feeling that you just can’t stick to a diet, we will illustrate what is actually going on.
Let’s look at the calories in versus the calories out. Calories may not be that important in having a healthy diet, but what’s going on at the various stages is. This particularly example will give you a good base to look at until you learn enough to know what you should be eating and how much. You will understand more about the sensation you get when you’re full and when you’ve had enough while balancing at your energy levels.
Let’s use a 1600 calorie example and a female as an example due to the fact that most females have fewer calories than males to maintain their body weight. We have 1600 calories here and say she weighs 80 kg. She won’t gain or lose theoretically at that 1600 calories mark. Let’s call her Jill. So Jill decides she is going on a diet and lose weight.
She picks up new ideas from one of those magazines and some celebrity diet that encourages a crash diet disguised as a quick fix. Now she is happy that she has a celebrity diet that worked for that celebrity. She’s going to start the diet and she decides to go on a drastic change of eating.
So, she’s been eating normally throughout her diet and everything stays the same. With seven days in this new diet, she’s turned her whole level upside down, eating whatever is called for in the diet that encourages really fast weight loss.
What will happen is usually the calories of that diet are going to drop drastically. Over this time period, she’s dropped and she may have lost three to five kg straight off the bat and then, what she’s done is reset.
She’s reset her maintenance calorie level. So all Jill is thinking is yeah, seven days later, three to five kilos lighter, she is absolutely stoked. However, what she’s done is just reset her maintenance level from the 1400 to the 1200 calorie mark. She keeps going on with the diet for another fourteen days.
Feeling pretty happy with herself as she’s getting some results. Next, what happens is she starts to get a little bit less of a drop, maybe just another one to two kg. Now, she’s down to the 1200 region and her new maintenance is now1200. So she has gone from 1600 maintenance with no weight gain or no weight loss.
She has dropped down to1400 in seven days and she’s lost that three to five kg straightaway in that seven day period. She’s gone along for another seven days with a little bit less weight loss and more around the 1200 mark losing one to two kilos.
She’s thinking okay, that’s just the initial weight loss. This is starting to get a little bit harder now, let’s say her goal is to lose fifteen kilos, which isn’t unreasonable by any means. But now she’s two weeks in and she’s down to six kilos, that’s pretty standard for a fresh diet that promises fast results.
Jill thinks this is perfect and awesome! By dropping her food a little bit more because she didn’t get as much weight loss this week but she is almost halfway to her goal. So Jill thinks that eating less now, and before we move on obviously, we need to keep in mind that she’s down to the 1200 calorie maintenance.
So far her thought process seems right. Let’s get to the 21 day mark of three weeks in. By now what she does is drops down again and only loses 500 grams to one kg. She is three weeks into this diet and this was a really hard slope because she was really starting to get lower in calories and now she is down to a new maintenance level of 1000 to 800 calories.
Her idea is now that she has lost that initial weight loss, she thinks if she eats less again then she’ll lose more. This is what most people assume that if they eat less they will lose more weight.
The nine to fourteen day mark is starting to get tough and she pushes herself and is starting to really struggle in the gym three to five times a week eating close to a thousand to 800 calories. She is starting to get really, really tired, struggling to maintain the weight loss and she’s thinking “I’m dieting harder, not eating as much, doing more and more and more, trying to do it in a faster time frame.
She doesn’t realize that she is getting dangerously close into starvation territory. This is really where you don’t want to be. This low calorie count can cause a lot of health problems this is the danger zone. You can’t stay in the danger for very long, you may experience irritable, anxiety, be upset all the time, and you just don’t feel very good.
Jill has already dipped in into the danger zone area going from 1600 calories all the way down to 1000 to 800 within a matter of just three weeks. Because she’s lost three to five plus another two plus 500 grams, so that’s seven to eight kilos combined she’s still feeling pretty good like this diet’s working.
She feels that she has lost so much weight, but now she is really struggling and finding it hard to keep on track. She still decides to go another week. Generally, most people won’t last three weeks on these types of diets. Now she is at day 26, so another five days in. She’s gone from the top to a really low calorie range.
Down to 800 calories and didn’t lose anything, zero, big fat zero. Now she’s going to try and maintain that. If she was really committed, this is what a lot of body builders would do to get really lean and lose a lot of fat.
This takes a lot of mental power to stay down and it’s not very healthy to stay down for a long period. These fad, crash, yoyo diets to new people can be dangerous not knowing and realizing what’s going on with each one of these steps. They just keep going by eating less and less, while working harder and harder and getting less result.
So Jill is failing with this diet, a big fat zero. She tries it for another three days, but this time she’s ravenously hungry, stressed out, can barely even make it through the day because she’s so hungry. When she finally gets to 26 days, if she makes it that far taking this crash course she realizes this is a crap diet and she’s going to go back to the where she was.
The Rebound Weight Gain
Let’s bounce back to the 1600 calories no weight loss, no weight gains. She went from 800 to 1000 calories and shot right back up to almost two times to what she was over that three week period and the body thinks it is surviving at 800.
She thinks she’s not going to gain any weight. All of a sudden she’s got two times as many calories in her body that need to be used and the body is already in stress. When you’re in stress, you store fat and your body looks at those extra calories.
Now the body puts that into fat storage for the next time when it’s in the starvation situation, a natural survival mechanism. When you have a low calories intake the body thinks it’s dying and stores everything it has. Then all of a sudden you will shoot back up to two times the calories you’ve been used to over that three week period. Usually it’s a lot more than that because there’s a compensation effect where the body will overcompensate and make sure that it is full and has plenty in reserves for next time you go through the yoyo diet.
No one intentionally sets out to destroy their body when trying to lose weight. Generally though, when you follow a fat diet or a crash diet that’s the process it takes you through and you don’t really realize what’s going on and then all of a sudden, bang and that’s why you get poor Jill.
So she’s lost that 7 kilos and then she’s come back up so within a week or two, she’s put on that weight again plus probably an extra three to five kg’s, maybe more depending on how severe the yoyo effect was.
Maybe she just really got depressed and down and started emotional eating which made this even worse. Jill sort of comes down, gets back into a routine and then starts to bring herself back down to a normal rate, but chances are she’s probably reset her metabolic rate, which set her at 83 to 85, possibly more kilos.
So this whole endeavour has left her with an extra five kilos for all this pain and suffering and this is how a yoyo diet works.
Going through these stages you can see how hard it is when you get down and how hard it is to stick it out and then to have the weight go back up. That’s where it hits you the worst and then you carry that around.
Jill goes away for a few months feeling sorry for herself, a bit disheartened because she got sucked into this yoyo diet from the magazine. Maybe down the road she goes, okay, I’m ready for another crack at it.
She’s ready to go again because she’s not happy with her body and so she finds the next diet to jump into and repeat the same process. All over again without realizing what’s going on and that’s what yoyo diets do, up and down, up and down, over a period of years and each time you add a little bit more weight, add a little bit more, add a little bit more. You get the idea.
You might start out leaving high school at 80 kilos and over a period of ten years, you could be a hundred plus kg’s, no problem at all. It’s easy to put on weight over ten years, but it’s hard to lose when you’re constantly in this yoyo diet predicament.